5.09 / September 2010


After the revolution, she sews a new flag.   Her young lover teases that with needle and thread she looks the picture of femininity.   They smile and drink bitter coffee.

The tree was her lover’s idea, who insisted on many small fruit to symbolize that one thing alone will not survive, but lots of anything, no matter how small, will.   The woman wonders if grief is like that: lots of small prickly berries, each one a child, a home.

The peasant on her knees was her idea.   She had wanted the figure to be planting, but her lover insisted that the time for sowing was past.   Only a harvest could redeem their sorrowful state.

The waves — brown, yellow, white — were hers, as well as the bold, red sun, which reminded her of Japan, a place she had never been.   There were many places she had never been.

The sky looks like water, the young lover told her one morning.   The flag hung above their mattress.   The sun streaked in, but it was not the sun that burned tears in the woman’s eyes.

When the counterrevolution took hold, the young lover wrapped their belongings in the flag and waited for the woman to return with a car.   She waited three days, then sold the flag to a rich American couple and bought a bottle of something that scorched her throat.